The City of Cape Town, in conjunction with Cape Town Stadium management, have responded to Cape Town City chairman John Comitis’ criticism amidst last week’s stadium debacle.
The Citizens were forced to move their opening home match of the 2019/20 season against Western Cape counterparts Stellenbosch FC at the weekend to the Athlone Stadium after the Cape Town Stadium cancelled their booking at the venue.
Comitis has been on an ongoing rant regarding the City’s disrespect towards the club as well as the football fraternity in the Cape, to which the City have responded with their own facts.
“The primary reason for our decision is the safety of the players, which the Stadium treats with paramount importance,” read a statement from the City of Cape Town.
“The grass pitch at Cape Town Stadium (CTS) was found to not meet the Premier Soccer League’s traction standards and players could slip and injure themselves.
“The City and CTS are unable to control weather patterns. There have been four cold fronts in quick succession. This has not happened for many years and has prevented the grass from ‘knitting’ properly.
“Of further consideration is that our specialist service provider has just concluded a follow up traction test. They have advised us that there has been no improvement to the pitch since the last test, which was conducted on Monday 5 August 2019.
“Taking the weather forecast and predicted average temperatures into consideration, they have further advised that the pitch will unfortunately not be match-ready by 17 August 2019.”
The municipality also defended against claims that they do not value what is the largest sporting code in South Africa.
“Mr Comitis’ comment that soccer doesn’t matter to the Cape Town Stadium is disingenuous and we treat it with the contempt it deserves,” further read the statement.
“We have hosted 84 soccer matches in the past three seasons as well as unscheduled National First Division games when Athlone Stadium was not available.
“Cape Town City also enjoys a greatly reduced rate for using the Stadium because of our passion for this home-grown club.”